Debt collectors from across the country met in Atlantic City for a conference this week, ABC News reports. A popular topic focused on how the struggling economy is affecting business. The economic downturn has become a double-edged sword for debt collectors. There are more unemployed people, making the potential for business greater, but it's also also harder to get debtors to pay. Last year, businesses placed approximately $150 billion worth of debt with collection agencies. However, collectors were only able to obtain around $40 billion. "It's harder to collect than ever because people are in genuine hardship," said Harry Strausser III, president of the Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association. "With unemployment the way it is and the terrible foreclosures, people are having a harder time making ends meet. There's more potential business, and we're having a tougher time trying to collect it." Collectors have attempted to mitigate these issues by offering minuscule payment plans, reaching as low as $5 or $10 dollars per month, CBSNews adds. Despite the wavering economy, industry experts expect debt collection
agencies to grow by as much as 26 percent over the next three years, ABCNews reports. There are currently 4,100 debt collection firms in the U.S.